Everyday problems

Things that go wrong in houses and flats

The lights are not working: there must be a power cut.

The door handle’s come off.

The washing machine broke down the other day. I’ll have to do the laundry by hand.

The pipe’s leaking.

Oh no! The bathroom’s flooded! Get a mop, quickly!

The battery has died/run out. I’ll have to recharge.

Oh no! The chair’s broken, I need to go on a diet.

The cup is chipped.

Minor injuries

A twisted ankle.

cut finger.

bumped/banged my head on the cupboard door today.

Sharon fell down and grazed her knee this morning.” [little or no blood]

Graze, cut and bruise can be used as verbs or countable nouns.

Other everyday problems

I’ve mislaid Bob’s letter. Have you seen it anywhere? [put it somewhere and can’t find it]

She spilt some coffee on the carpet. I hope it doesn’t stain. [leave a permanent mark]

The sink is blocked. Have you been throwing tea-leaves in there again? [the water will not drain away]

I’m afrain I’ve dented your car. I’m really sorry. I’ll pay for the repairs. [bent the metal a little bit by hitting something]

I’ve locked myself out. Can I use your phone to ring my wife?

The car won’t start. I hope it isn’t anything serious. Perhaps the battery’s flat.

The kitchen clock’s slow/fast/stopped. What time do you make it?

What do you think happened to make these people say what they did?

  1. I had to call out our local mechanic.
  2. Our neighbours let us use their washing machine.
  3. Don’t worry, it often does that. I’ll screw it back on.
  4. Come here and I’ll put a plaster on it.
  5. Luckily, that was all it was. The skin was broken a bit but there was no blood.
  6. How many batteries does it take? I’ll get some for you.
  7. I don’t know where you have put them, try the bedside table.

Which of the three words is the odd one out in each case?

  1. break down, smash, break
  2. run out, stain, stop
  3. leak, come off, chip
  4. cut, bruise, flood

What would you do if…

  • You mislaid your credit card?
  • You noticed your guest’s cup was chipped?
  • One of your coat buttons came off?
  • Your dishwasher broke down?
  • You bruised your forehead?

Your watch was slow?

cake tin vase elbow clock moped sink
broken down

Complete the sentences

  • I didn’t look where I was going as I walked through the doorway and…
  • The wind blew the door shut and I realised I had…
  • I would ring her but I’m afraid I’ve…
  • I can’t take a photo…
  • I tried to run over the rocks but I …
  • We had to use candles because…